New Zealand’s glaciers appear 'smashed, shattered,' says top scientist

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ISTANBUL – A top government scientist in New Zealand on Monday warned that the country’s glaciers “appear smashed and shattered due to enduring ice loss” and called for tackling the issue of rising greenhouse gases.

“Overall, the snowline has been rising and in the most recent years we’re seeing that rise accelerate, so we’re experiencing a continued trend of glacial ice loss,” said Andrew Lorrey, the country’s principal scientist on climate and environmental applications.

"Even if we got a few cooler seasons, they wouldn’t be enough to undo the damage that’s already been done,” Lorrey added.

New Zealand witnessed seven of the 10 warmest years in the past decade while last year was the second warmest year on record, he said, adding that such a trend followed the rest of the world as 86 percent of the planet witnessed above-average temperatures that year.

“Difference between today and five decades ago is like going to a ski field in the summer and then in the winter. That’s how stark it is, and it’s not just happening in New Zealand but all over the world," said Lorrey, quoting his colleague Trevor Chinn.

"New Zealand is one of the few mid-latitude places where people live near glaciers, where people can see and visit them easily. But this is getting tougher. Tourism operators are having to penetrate further and further into the mountains to reach them,” he said.

“I worry that they won’t be around for our children to enjoy. Not to mention the impacts their disappearance will have on our environment and cultural heritage. A warming planet means fewer cold places and less ice,” the scientist warned. (Anadolu)